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Hello,

I made a lenghty online inquiry about the maximal territorial extension of the Roman Empire and all I ended up with were some strange and contradictory figures, largley left unexplained ("1.7 million square miles", "2.2 million square miles", "2.3 million square miles at its height", "3,34 Mio km²"). Obviously I have detected a major deficiency of the Internet there. Big Grin

So, out of lack of a better one, I made an inquiry of my own and calculated the extent of the Roman Empire on the basis of the modern states, sharing its former territory. I did it by guessimating while looking on a modern map, but I still think that approach wields much more precise results than the above. But see for yourself:

Countries belonging fully to the RE:
92.345 km² - Portugal
504.782 km² - Spain
543.965 km² - France
32.545 km² - Belgium
301.336 km² - Italy
110.994 km² - Bulgaria
28 748 km² - Albania
131.957 km² - Greece
130.395 km² - England
20.761 km² - Wales
779.452 km² - Turkey
41.285 km² - Switzerland
185.180 km² - Syria
20.991 km² - Israel (borders of 1948)
6.831 km² - Israel (occupied territories)

Countries belonging to the greater part to the RE:
83.871,1 km² - Austria
255.804 km² - Ex-Jugoslavia
92.300 km² - Jordania
163.610 km² - Tunisia

Countries belonging half to the RE:
238.391 km² - Rumania
1.001.450 km² - Egypt

Countries belonging to the smaller part to the RE:
458.730 km² - Marokko (one fourth)
2.381.741 km² - Algeria (one seventh)
1.759.540 km² - Libya (one tenth)
93.030 km² - Hungary (two fifth)
41.526 km² - Netherlands (one third)
357.050 km² - Germany
-- 34.083,52 km² NRW (one fourth)
-- 35.751,65 km² BW (almost completely)

My calculation: 4.6 Mio. km² for the whole Empire without Armenia and Mesopotamia, which were only occupied very briefly (114-117).
With Armenia and Mesopotamia perhaps 5,1 Mio. km².


Tp put this for fun into a general context: http://www.hostkingdom.net/earthrul.html
(I dont know though how he came to his 5,698,000 km²)

I have two related questions:
- What figures does the literature give (with source please)?
- Are there any online or printed articles treating the population history of the Roman Empire?
Quote:Are there any on-line or printed articles treating the population history of the Roman Empire?
This is a field I once studied quite intensely, but actually, it turned out not to be worth the effort. The book to read is, in spite of its great antiquity, Julius Beloch's Bevölkerung der griechisch-römischen Welt (1886). Everybody knows that it is old, but no one has come to better conclusions. All more recent publications are in Wieslaw Suder, Census Populi. Bibliographie de la démographie de l' antiquité romaine (1988)

Only Bruce Frier has improved the Egyptian section of Beloch's book. The improvement meant: better underpinning of what was essentially the same conclusion.
I added some smaller states I had initially forgotten - the net result remained practically the same. I think the list of countries is now complete, the issue now is if I selected appropiate landmass percentages for the individual states. Any ideas?

Another question: What was the exact status of the Bosporian realm. Was it ever a Roman province, do I have to add its territory?

Countries belonging fully to the RE:
92.345 km² - Portugal
504.782 km² - Spain
6,5 km² - Gibraltar
543.965 km² - France
32.545 km² - Belgium
2,586 km² - Luxemburg
160 km² - Liechtenstein
301.336 km² - Italy
0.44 km² - Vatican State
110.994 km² - Bulgaria
28 748 km² - Albania
131.957 km² - Greece
130.395 km² - England
20.761 km² - Wales
779.452 km² - Turkey
41.285 km² - Switzerland
1.95 km² - Monaco
468 km² - Andorra
316 km² - Malta
9,250 km² - Cyprus
185.180 km² - Syria
10.452 km² - Lebanon
20.991 km² - Israel (borders of 1948)
6.831 km² - Israel (occupied territories)

Countries belonging to the greater part to the RE:
83.871,1 km² - Austria
255.804 km² - Ex-Jugoslavia
92.300 km² - Jordania
163.610 km² - Tunisia

Countries belonging half to the RE:
238.391 km² - Rumania
1.001.450 km² - Egypt

Countries belonging to the smaller part to the RE:
458.730 km² - Marokko (one fourth)
2.381.741 km² - Algeria (one seventh)
1.759.540 km² - Libya (one tenth)
93.030 km² - Hungary (two fifth)
41.526 km² - Netherlands (one third)
357.050 km² - Germany
-- 34.083,52 km² NRW (one fourth)
-- 35.751,65 km² BW (almost completely)

My calculation: 4.6 Mio. km² for the whole Empire without Armenia and Mesopotamia, which were only occupied very briefly (114-117).
With Armenia and Mesopotamia perhaps 5,1 Mio. km².
Question: Is there any program out there with which to calculate a given piece of land, because I want to calculate the territorial extent of a few empires. 8)

I mean, there must be some method, where do get historians else their numbers from? I cannot believe that my petty calculation above may be the most accurate of the Imperium in the Internet, but I have yet to stumble over a better one.
You actually sat down and figured it out, I'd say yours is pretty accurate. Personally, I would love for someone to make a population density map for the empire.
Quote:You actually sat down and figured it out, I'd say yours is pretty accurate.

Thanks. Which are the most accurate map, printed or online, on the Roman Empire in your view? In the absence of a calculating program, I am going to recalculate the individual percentages on that map and that's it then. Big Grin
I have a question and perhaps not an easy one, but certainly a highly interesting one, as I find. It involves geography, political science, economy, but very much also international law:

What do we make out of the fact that the Mediterranean Sea was for quite some time a Roman inland lake in terms of calculating the territory of the Roman Empire?!

While the Empire covers on land an area of 4.5 million km², the Mediterranean Sea adds an area of 2.5 million km². Geographically, the Med was after the annexation of Thracia and Mauretania in the first half of the 1st century a complete Roman inland lake. Very much like Lake Michigan is today for the United States. But is the area which covers Lake Michigan counted to the total area of the USA or not? Has been the Caspian Sea before 1991 been counted to the SU and Iran respectively or did they have the status of international waters?

In terms of international law, the Med was a mare clausum. Non-Roman shipping was effectively forbidden and did practically not took place. The land distance between Roma and Alexandria was in fact practicall nil, since a sailor who went from Roma to Alexandria, left Roman soil, sailed on Roman waters and arrived on Roman soil. From the point of logic, the travel between Roma and Alexandria involved not a single meter of foreign waters or lands. Roma and Alexandria were legally as far apart as Chicago and Milwaukee are.

Now, the crucial point is, that the Med, being incorporated into the Imperium, so to speak swallowd completely by the Roman land masses around, constituted a great lengthening of intra-empire distance. For example, while the north-south distance between Trier and Rom was, say 2000 km, the distance between Trier and Carthage was, say 3500 km, without a single meter of land in between!

That means the circumference of the Roman Empire on its outer periphery is not one which is defined by its 4.5 million km² territory, but by 4.5 million km² PLUS the 2.5 million km² water surface, that is one of a far larger empire! The territorial nature of the Roman Empire is thus, to speak metaphorically, a bony structure with a water belly inside. Doesn"t this mean that we should speak in future of 7.0 million km² territory, whereby 2.5 million km² consist of water surface?!

We are so accustomed to the fundamental difference between water an land that we have always chirurgically separated the Mediterranean from the Imperium, despite its great importance for and utter dominance by the Romans. But why counting, say Lake Garda to Italy, but not the Mediterranean to the Roman Empire? Only because the complete encirclement of the biggest inland water of the world constituted a singularly case in world history? Isn't it time to revise our conceptual understanding and allow sufficiently for a great exeption in history.

I feel we have done here not enough justice to the singularity of the Roman Empire, being the only empire which ever managed to enclose such a great water, making it effectively an inland lake.

In short, the reasons why the surface of the Mediterranean sea should be added to the land territory of the Roman Empire are:

- Geographically, the Med was surrounded entirely by Roman territory, making it effectively an inland lake.
- Politically, the Med was entirely controlled by Roman sea power at the exclusion of all other states. Pirates are, of course, an exception, but they were then as now not subject of the ius gentium and constituted thus no recognized international unit. Thus, in terms of international law the Roman rule of the Med was undisputed
- Legally, the Med was a mare clausum where ship movements were subject to Roman law and jurisdiction. Exclusively.

I, therefore, propose, on the basis of these arguments, and in view of the historical singularity of the Roman case, to define the territory of the Roman Empire as 7.0 million km² territory, whereby 2.5 million km² consisted of water surface.
Anything new on the population history? Is a maximum population of 55-60 million really the common view?
Quote:Anything new on the population history? Is a maximum population of 55-60 million really the common view?
As far as I know, the customary view used to be 60-80 million. That this may be 25% too low, is the inevitable consequence of Mogens Herman Hansen, The Shotgun Method: The Demography of the Ancient Greek City-State Culture (2006; review).
Quote:Anything new on the population history? Is a maximum population of 55-60 million really the common view?
Ancient demographics are a very active field right now. The problem is that we know a little bit about Italy, Greece, and Egpyt and very little about anywhere else, so generalizaions are risky. I could send you a copy of a university paper with lots of recent stuff in the footnotes and bibliography; a book of articles on ancient demographics edited by a professor at my university just came out, but I don't remember its name. [Edit]The professor was Geoffrey Kron, and he may have just written a chapter not edited the book.[/edit] The Cambridge Economic History of the Ancient World is a good starting point from a fairly conservative perspective.

IMHO, the 'high count' for the population of Italy under Augustust (~12-15 million not ~5-6 million) seems to be right, and in general ancient agriculture and industry were more advanced than many earlier scholars thought. That implies a somewhat higher population for the empire as a whole (Beloch was an advocate of the 'low count'), but I haven't looked into the arguments.

Jona, that book looks very interesting; I'll have to chase it down.
I've always been fond of Peter Brunt's Italian Manpower, although this may not help for the question regarding total population. He estimates 6,200,000 citizens (not counting infants) in 14 A.D.
Quote:Jona, that book looks very interesting; I'll have to chase it down.

See Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=0QSVh8 ... ture&hl=es
Quote:
Sean Manning:3vvh4nu1 Wrote:Jona, that book looks very interesting; I'll have to chase it down.

See Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=0QSVh8 ... ture&hl=es
Great. My library doesn't have it, so I would have to interlibrary loan it without Google Books.
And here's that bibliography (trimmed down to things related to demographics, and biased towards Italy during the middle Republic):

Brunt, Peter A. Italian Manpower, 225 B.C.- A.D. 14 (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1971)

Kron, Geoffrey, “The Augustan Census Figures and the Population of Italy,” in Estratto da Athenaeum: Studi di Letteratura e Storia dell'Antichita, Vol. 93, Fasc. 2 (2005) pp. 441-495

Fenoaltea, Stefano. “Slavery and Supervision in Comparative Perspective: A Model,” Journal of Economic History, Vol. 44 No. 3 (September 1984) pp. 635-668

Frank, Tenney ed., An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome, Vol. 1 (Octagon Books: New York, 1975)

Frier, Bruce W. “More is Worse: Some Observations on the Population of the Roman Empire,” Scheidel, Walter, ed. Debating Roman Demography (Brill: Leiden, 2001)

Goldstone, Jack A. “Effloruescences and Economic Growth in World History: Rethinking the “Rise of the West” and the Industrial Revolution,” Journal of World History, Vol. 13 No. 2 (2002) pp. 323-389

Lo Cascio, Elio. “Recruitment and the Size of the Roman Population From the Third to the First Century BCE,” in Scheidel, Walter, ed. Debating Roman Demography (Brill: Leiden, 2001)

Moreley, Neville. “The Transformation of Italy, 225-28 BCE,” Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 91 (2001) pp. 50-62

Rosenstein, Nathan. Rome at War: Farms, Families, and Deaths in the Middle Republic. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, NC, 2004

Scheidel, Walter. “Progress and Problems in Ancient Demography,” in Scheidel, Walter, ed. Debating Roman Demography (Brill: Leiden, 2001)

Scheidel, Walter; Morris, Ian; and Saller, Richard, eds., The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2007)

Scheidel, Walter. “Roman Population Size: The Logic of the Debate” Version 1.0 (May 2007). Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics. Retrieved online, unknown date.
Walter Scheidel has an enormous output of freely available papers on questions relating demography and economy: http://www.princeton.edu/~pswpc/papers/ ... nhist.html